Harvard Heart Letter

A new way to control blood pressure

Inactivating renin, which is made by the kidneys, may open the door to better blood pressure.

With more than a hundred blood pressure medicines already on the market, the FDA's approval of yet another one might seem like ho-hum news. It's actually more exciting than that. "This is the first new class of blood pressure medication in a decade, and it has a mechanism of action that may go beyond just reducing blood pressure," says Dr. Naomi D. Fisher, who directs the hypertension service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The new drug, called aliskiren, will be sold under the brand name Tekturna. It works by inactivating renin (REE-nin), a hormone-like molecule made by the kidneys. Renin is the first link in a chain called the renin-angiotensin system. This network of organs, tissues, and hormones helps regulate blood pressure.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »